If you hoped to hunt Wyoming elk this year, you already missed the boat with an application deadline that quietly slipped away in the night on Jan. 31.
Don't miss another boat—unless it's a cruise ship under questionable command. If you have your heart set on a big hunt this fall, you'd better be doing your research now because many of today's most sought-after licenses are divvied out in limited numbers. Even my home state of Wyoming, home to the greatest pronghorn population in North America, doesn't guarantee me a tag of my choice. I have to apply.
So this blog is simply a sticky note for you to post on your computer or desk to remind you to apply for limited licenses in your favorite state. One of these years I'm hoping to draw an Arizona elk tag, a Montana bighorn sheep tag and a Colorado mule deer tag. Of course, that is a short list. I'm applying in as many states as I can for premium tags and, as my points begin to accumulate, hopefully I'll be able to cash-in for some great hunts.
Do you remember the big blow-up a few years back about nonresident licenses and the allotment restrictions, especially from those hoping to hunt federal lands we all own? Luckily, that hubbub has died down, but it is a reminder to all of us that patience is a virtue, but a fair allotment and price is also a helpful element. I never blame residents for protecting what's in their borders and having increased access to the hunting opportunities there, but I also remind everyone that, even if you don't hunt other states currently, being fair with license allotments may some day affect future members of your family.
You may not want care about hunting other states, but your kids, grandkids or their grandkids may enjoy the adventure of hunting new lands. Plus, the economic benefit of the traveling hunter is difficult to ignore in small, rural outposts across the country; it's what keeps many favorite C-stores, motels and restaurants alive when the rest of the year is a visitor drought. I jealously guard what's in my backyard, but I also know that sharing opens up other hunting opportunities, so I keep applying.
Finally, if you can't keep up with all the applications for your favorite hunts, employ a service. I use Cabela's Trophy Application and Guide Service (TAGS). Hear my spiel about it in the video below: